Turner was the No. 9 player in the Class of 2014, according to Rivals, and has been considered a one-and-done candidate since his stock skyrocketed late in his junior season of high school.
As a freshman at Texas, Turner averaged 10.1 points, 6.5 boards and 2.6 blocks. Early in the year, he really struggled against elite competition, but as the season progressed, Turner started to play better. He’s got a nice touch from the perimeter and a go-to move in the post — a quick, face-up jumper that is very difficult to block given his extremely high release point. Defensively, he needs to add some strength, but he has the length and timing to one day be a good shot-blocker at the next level.
Turner is currently projected by Draft Express as the No. 12 pick in the draft.
Late Night Snacks: Jahlil Okafor sets new career high in Duke win, Myles Turner gets first start for Texas
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Fairleigh Dickinson 85, Towson 84, overtime
Marques Townes made the game-winning layup with five seconds left to give Knights an unlikely overtime road win over Towson. Fairleigh Dickinson trailed Towson by 14 at the half and allowed the Tigers to shoot 57 percent from the field (27-for-47) but still won by forcing 25 Towson turnovers. The Knights, meanwhile, only turned the ball over three times as Darian Anderson had 23 points and five rebounds to lead the effort. Townes finished with 18 points, five rebounds and five steals.
1. No. 11 Texas 66, Rice 55
The Longhorns had to get through a very odd Monday afternoon tip-off as freshman big man Myles Turner made his first career start and scored a team-high 16 points for Texas. Turner was 6-for-7 from the field and Texas turned up its defense in the end to hold off a feisty Owl team that had upset on their minds. Rice was held scoreless for 5:46 near the end of the game until scoring with six seconds left as that stand gave Texas enough to win.
2. No. 2 Duke 86, Toledo 69
It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t always easy for the Blue Devils after 11 days of rest, but Duke led comfortably for much of the second half and put away Toledo after only a three-point halftime deficit. Jahlil Okafor finished with a career-high 27 points to go along with eight rebounds and once again stepped up his play when Duke looked a big sluggish. Quinn Cook also finished with 20 points for Duke while Tyus Jones added 15 points and eight assists.
3. TCU 60, Tennessee State 40
The Horned Frogs earned another easy victory to remain unbeaten as they moved to 13-0 on the season. Guard Kyan Anderson had 16 points to lead TCU in the win and we still haven’t seen this team play anybody tough all season. We’ll see if the Horned Frogs are legit on Jan. 3 when they host West Virginia in their first Big 12 game of the season.
1. Boston College’s Aaron Brown
The senior had a strong outing in an afternoon win over UMass Lowell. Brown went 9-for-12 from the field and 4-for-5 from three-point range to finish with 22 points, four assists and three rebounds.
2. LSU’s Jarrell Martin
The sophomore big man had 24 points and nine rebounds as the Tigers picked up an easy win over Southern Miss. Martin was also 10-for-15 from the field and added four assists on the night.
3. Tennessee Tech’s Charles Jackson
The Golden Eagles needed all of Jackson’s 28 points and 16 rebounds to get past North Florida for a three-point win. Of Jackson’s rebound total, seven came on the offensive end and he was 10-for-15 on the season.
1. James Madison’s offense
Monday night was a chance for James Madison to pick up a nice mid-major home win over Valparaiso, but instead, the Dukes’ offense went ice cold as they shot 23 percent from the field (13-for-55) in a 79-52 blowout loss. The Crusaders, meanwhile are 13-2.
The Mustangs pulled out a win on Monday night over Division II Midwestern State, but Larry Brown’s team was actually trailing in the second half and turned the ball over 19 times while shooting 38 percent from the field. A really sluggish outing for a SMU team that hasn’t looked like a NCAA Tournament team so far this season.
3. CS Northridge
Leading 34-25 at the half on Stephen F. Austin, the Matadors looked like they were in good position to pick up a big home win on Monday. But CS Northridge quickly relinquished its nearly double-digit lead and trailed for most of the second half in a 61-57 loss.
Treveon Graham had 20 points, nine rebounds and two assists to lead VCU to a win over Cleveland State.
North Carolina Central had four scorers in double figures as they earned an easy win over IUPUI.
Rider posted a road win at Wagner as Jimmie Taylor had 25 points and six rebounds in the win.
Quinnipiac got past Maine with a home win as Ousmane Drame had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the victors.
Old Dominion moved to 11-1 on the season with a win over Mt. St. Mary’s. Javonte Douglas led three Monarchs in double figures with 16 points.
Texas Tech outlasted North Texas as Devaugntah Williams led the Red Raiders with 14 points.
Darrell Bowie had 22 points and 10 rebounds in a Northern Illinois win over Hampton.
Pepperdine had 17 points and seven rebounds from Jett Raines in a win over Loyola Marymount.
St. Mary’s picked up a WCC win over San Francisco as Brad Waldow had 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Antoine Mason picked up 19 points as Auburn got past Middle Tennessee.
Three guys with 20-plus points for BYU in a WCC win over Portland as Tyler Haws (24 points), Anson Winder (22 points) and Kyle Collinsworth (21 points) all had good nights.
A nice overtime win for Denver at home over Saint Joseph’s as Brett Olson had 27 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Trailing 51-40 with 5:54 remaining, the No. 11 Shockers mounted a furious comeback and didn’t allow a field goal for the rest of the game. Darius Carter’s dunk off of a Fred VanVleet pass with 12 seconds left gave Wichita State 23 straight home wins as the Shocker press wrecked havoc on Alabama’s offense the last five minutes of the game. Carter paced Wichita State with 16 points.
1. Marquette 78, Arizona State 71
It was the debut for Marquette’s new transfer big man, Luke Fischer, and the Wisconsin native made a big impact in his homecoming with 19 points, nine rebounds and five blocks on 9-for-11 shooting from the field. JaJuan Johnson added 22 points and Duane Wilson chipped in 19 as the Golden Eagles looked like a different team with a talented big man in the middle.
2. Northern Arizona 73, St. Mary’s 71
This game ended in wild fashion as the Lumberjacks made two field goals in the last 10 seconds to earn a strong road victory over St. Mary’s. Quinton Upshur scored the game-winning layup with two seconds left after a turnover Aaron Bright. Upshur finished with 26 points in the win. This is a really bad loss for St. Mary’s, especially at home and when Brad Waldow put up 25 points, 15 rebounds and five assists.
3. VCU 78, Belmont 51
Let me make something clear, VCU should win this game against Belmont at home. But topping Belmont by 27 points is an impressive feat, even without Craig Bradshaw on the floor for the Bruins. The Rams forced 17 turnovers and held Belmont to 37 percent shooting as the VCU bench came through in the scoring column. Freshman forward Justin Tillman had 16 points while sophomore guard JeQuan Lewis contributed 13 points to pace the Ram offense.
1. Houston’s Jherrod Stiggers
The Cougars had a close game against Houston Baptist but Stiggers put them over the hump with 33 points in the win.
2. Texas’ Myles Turner
Jahlil Okafor had a monster night on Monday and Turner, a fellow McDonald’s All-American, followed suit on Tuesday in a 106-61 win over Lipscomb. The big man finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and six blocks for the Longhorns.
1. North Carolina’s Marcus Paige
North Carolina won with ease, 79-56, over UNC Greensboro, but Paige once again had a tough time finding his own offense. The junior went 1-for-8 from the field and finished with five points and two assists on the evening.
2. Wichita State’s Tekele Cotton
The Shockers could have used the senior guard as another perimeter option in a tight win over Alabama, but Cotton went 0-for-6 from the field and finished scoreless.
3. Alabama’s Ricky Tarrant and Rodney Cooper
Alabama’s second- and third-leading scorers combined for only 11 points on 5-for-15 shooting (1-for-8 from three) in a loss at Wichita State. The duo usually combine to average a little over 26 points per game.
Buddy Hield had 16 points in 21 minutes for No. 15 Oklahoma in a win over Oral Roberts as the junior went 6-for-10 from the field and 3-for-5 from three-point range.
No. 3 Arizona cruised past Oakland, 101-64, as Stanley Johnson led five Wildcats in double figures with 18.
Buffalo forward Justin Moss had 16 points and 10 rebounds in the Bulls’ 80-70 win over Drexel.
In a matchup of solid mid-majors, Sam Houston crushed Eastern Washington, 76-52 as guard Jabari Peters finished with 16 points.
With 41 seconds left in the first half of the 2K Sports Classic opener on Thursday night, No. 10 Texas looked like they had forgotten what time the game actually started.
Iowa was up 30-20, Aaron White was abusing the Texas big men and the Longhorns could not figure out what to do against the zone that the Hawkeyes were in.
That all changed in the second half.
Johnathan Holmes hit a couple jumpers to spread the defense — he had 11 of his 19 points in the first three minutes of the second half — and Isaiah Taylor started breaking down the Iowa “defense” off the dribble as the Longhorns eventually cruised to a 71-57 win. They’ll play the winner of tonight’s Syracuse-California matchup on Thursday.
And as well as Taylor played in the second half, it really was Holmes that showed us why Texas has a chance to be so good this season.
There really may not be a more underrated player in the country than Holmes, a 6-foot-8 forward with three-point range and the size to pound the glass inside. What makes him so valuable is that he can overwhelm smaller defenders, especially on the offensive glass, but he has the length and the quickness to hold his own defensively on the wing, particularly when Texas plays zone.
Here is a perfect example of what I’m talking about:
What small forwards are the college level will be able to deal with that? Kentucky’s should be able to. Sam Dekker of Wisconsin, too. Probably Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of Arizona. Beyond that? I don’t know.
If there is a concern for Texas it’s that they finished the night with 15 turnovers and just eight assists. Taylor and Javan Felix, the two Longhorn ball-handlers, finished with two assists and five turnovers, combined.
When it comes to Iowa, they played well in the first half on the defensive end, but in the second half they reverted back to the same old Hawkeyes, competitive for a half, collapsing down the stretch. Outside of Aaron White, who finished with 23 points and six boards, and Adam Woodbury, no one on the Hawkeyes looked ready to play at the same level as Texas.
I was bullish on the Hawkeyes entering the season.
It’s still early, but I’m not feeling confident in that prediction right now.
The last time that Kansas did not win at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title was Bill Self’s first season with the Jayhawks. That was back in 2004, when the Big 12 still had 12 teams and the likes of Texas A&M, Colorado, Nebraska and Missouri were still playing in a league that made geographic sense. The Jayhawks finished second that season, two games behind an Oklahoma State team coached by Eddie Sutton and led by now-grizzled Grizzly veteran Tony Allen.
Kansas will, once again, be the favorite to win the league’s regular season title, but it won’t be a cakewalk, as there are four other teams in the league very capable of taking home a regular season title.
For the first time in a long time, the same ten teams that ended last season in the Big 12 will begin next year in the league as well.
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:
1. Kansas reloads … again. But there are questions at the point … again: The Jayhawks lost two players that were picked in the top three of the 2014 NBA Draft and they could end up being better this season than they were last season. Part of that is the addition Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander, and part of that is that Wayne Selden will be healthy. Throw in Perry Ellis, and that’s four guys that can be first team All-Big 12 players this season. But as has been the case since Sherron Collins graduated, the Jayhawks will have point guard question marks. Can Devonte’ Graham or Frank Mason take ownership of the role?
2. But that doesn’t mean the road to Title XI will be easy: Kansas may be the favorite, but there are four other teams capable of winning the Big 12 title. Texas and Iowa State are probably the Jayhawks’ two biggest contenders. Texas returns essentially their entire roster from last year’s tournament team, adding a top ten recruit in Myles Turner to the mix. The Longhorns have a massive front line and one of the nation’s best point guards in sophomore Isaiah Taylor. The question will be how Rick Barnes will get Turner on the floor at the same time as Cam Ridley and Johnathan Holmes.
The Cyclones will be led by Georges Niang, but he’s a known quantity at this point. Iowa State’s three keys are players that are more of a question mark. Monte’ Morris was sensational in limited minutes as a freshman, but how good will he be in a full-time point guard role? Bryce Dejean-Jones has the talent to be a star, but he’s never had the shot selection to play like it. And Jameel McKay can be the rim-protector that Fred Hoiberg has lacked in his tenure in Ames, but what kind of impact will he have when he gets eligible in December?
3. Tashawn Thomas will be the x-factor in the league race: As far as Oklahoma is concerned, their back court of Buddy Hield, Jordan Woodard and Isiah Cousins is loaded. Ryan Spangler is one of the most underrated big men in the country. That’s enough to make them a top 25 team. But if Houston transfer Tashawn Thomas gets a waiver to be eligible immediately, than the Sooners are a legitimate Big 12 title contender and a team that will look more like a Final Four contender than a Sweet 16 candidate.
4. No. 2 on that list? Kansas State’s transfers: We know about Marcus Foster, and we know that one of Nigel Johnson or Jevon Thomas will need to own that point guard role. But the key to the season will be their three transfers: Stephen Hurt, Brandon Bolden and Justin Edwards. Edwards is a high-flying wing that can score in bunches and would be a nice compliment to Foster, while Hurt and Bolden will provide the kind of height in the paint the Wildcats have lacked in recent years.
5. There may not be a league with more individual talent in the country: And that’s despite losing Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Marcus Smart, Deandre Kane and Isaiah Austin. Kansas has their Big Four. Niang, Hield and Foster could both end up being first-team all-americans. Taylor and Holmes were the stars for Texas last season, and freshman Turner could end up being their best player this season. And all this ignores the fact that Juwan Staten will be the league’s Preseason Player of the Year.
PRESEASON BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Juwan Staten, West Virginia
Staten was one of the nation’s most improved players in the country a season ago, averaging 18.1 points, 5.8 assists and 5.6 boards as a junior after spending his sophomore year as “just a guy”. The Mountaineers lose some key pieces from last year’s team, meaning that the 5-foot-11 Staten is going to have his work cut out for him if he wants to play in the NCAA tournament as a senior, but that shouldn’t take away from just how talented of a player he is.
THE REST OF THE ALL-BIG 12 FIRST TEAM:
Georges Niang, Iowa State, Jr.: Niang has cut 25 pounds this offseason, meaning one of the toughest matchups in the country will be that much better offensively.
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma, Jr.: Hield developed a reputation for being one of the league’s best perimeter defenders as a freshman. As a sophomore, he averaged 16.4 points. What comes next this season?
Marcus Foster, Kansas State, So.: Foster was one of the nation’s biggest surprises as a freshman last season. He’ll spend more time with the ball in his hands this year.
Perry Ellis, Kansas, Jr.: Once again, Ellis will watch as his teammates — Kelly Oubre, Cliff Alexander, Wayne Selden — get more acclaim, but don’t be surprised when he ends up as the leading Jayhawk scorer this season.
SIX MORE NAMES TO KNOW:
Isaiah Taylor, Texas, So.
Kenny Chery, Baylor, Sr.
Cliff Alexander, Kansas, Fr.
Kelly Oubre, Kansas, Fr.
Wayne Selden, Kansas, So.
Johnathan Holmes, Texas, Sr.
BREAKOUT STAR: The popular pick here is going to be Monte’ Morris; we were on that bandwagon when we picked him for this list, so we’ll give you another option here. Last season, Wayne Selden spent much of the year overshadowed by fellow freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid while he tried to battle through a knee issue that limited his explosiveness. Well, he underwent a procedure this summer on that balky knee and is now back to 100% healthy. With the amount of talent that the Jayhawks have on their roster, Selden’s season long numbers may not look like Marcus Foster’s or Juwan Staten’s, but don’t be surprised if he becomes one of the nation’s best off-guards.
COACH UNDER PRESSURE: Last year was the year for Oklahoma State to be a serious contender. Not only did they get a gift with Marcus Smart returning for his sophomore season, but they teamed him up with Markel Brown, Le’Bryan Nash and a roster full of quality role players. But Michael Cobbins blew his achilles tendon, Stevie Clark got himself thrown off the team and Smart spent the season out of control, resulting in a No. 9 seed in the tournament and an opening round exit. Travis Ford has a massive buyout, but that doesn’t mean that his job is safe.
ON SELECTION SUNDAY WE’LL BE SAYING … : There’s a chance that three or four Big 12 teams end up in the Final Four.
I’M MOST EXCITED ABOUT … : The fact that the Big 12 is the lone power conference that still plays a double round-robin. Home-and-homes for the top five teams in this league will be fun.
FIVE NON-CONFERENCE GAMES TO CIRCLE ON YOUR CALENDAR:
Nov. 18th, Kansas vs. Kentucky (Champions Classic)
Nov. 26th, Oklahoma at UCLA
Nov. 30th, Texas at UConn
Dec. 5th, Texas at Kentucky (SEC/Big 12 Challenge)
Dec. 5th, Florida at Kansas (SEC/Big 12 Challenge)
1. Kansas: The Jayhawks are the most talented team in the league despite the fact that they lost two players that were picked in the top three of the 2014 NBA Draft.
2. Texas: The Longhorns have the best front line in the conference, and maybe the best front line in the country outside of Kentucky. Johnathan Holmes play at the three will be the x-factor.
3. Iowa State: The Cyclones could push for a league title if three things happen: Monte’ Morris pans out, Bryce Dejean-Jones buys in and Jameel McKay is a defensive difference-maker.
4. Oklahoma: This is assuming Tashawn Thomas is not given a waiver to play immediately. If he does get a waiver, the Sooners jump up to No. 2.
5. Kansas State: Marcus Foster is one of the best players in the conference, but question marks at the point and at center limit their upside.
6. Baylor: The Bears lost Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson, but Kenny Chery should be able to lead this group back to the NCAA tournament.
7. West Virginia: Getting Juwan Staten back for his senior season was huge, but losing Eron Harris hurt quite a bit as well.
8. Oklahoma State: Everything all falls on Le’Bryan Nash this season. Can he carry the load.
9. TCU: Kyan Anderson, Amric Fields, Trey Zeigler, Devonta Abron, Karviar Shepard, Chris Washburn. There is talent on this roster.
10. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders snuck up on some people last year, but after losing four of their top five scorers, they’ll have to prove it again this season.
We’ve already gone over the other positional rankings on CBT this week but now we get to the big men. You’ll see a lot of new faces on the list this year, because the incoming group of freshman has a lot of talented McDonald’s All-Americans playing in the post that should contribute right away. But there are plenty of experienced post cogs as well and some that are versatile inside-outside threats with the ability to stretch the floor.
1. Jahlil Okafor, Duke: It’s high praise for a true freshman to be ranked No. 1 on this list, but then again, Okafor isn’t your typical college freshman. Many viewed Okafor as the No. 1 player in the country in the 2014 class and the 6-foot-11 center is patient, skilled and comes from a winning pedigree. Okafor was a major factor for USA Basketball during his high school career and enters Duke as an instant double-team threat whenever he gets his mitts on a post touch. Coach K will ride his new center as far as he can take him.
2. Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin: Now a senior, the 7-foot Kaminsky had a breakout junior season, averaging 13.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game on 52 percent field-goal shooting, 76 percent free-throw shooting and 37 percent three-point shooting. A rare inside-outside offensive threat at center, Kaminsky can be a nightmare to defend because he can stretch the floor, is a patient passer and doesn’t force too many shots. If the Wisconsin big man has a weakness, it’s on the defensive end, where he’s an average rebounder and positional defender on his own.
3. Karl Towns, Jr., Kentucky: You’ll see plenty of Kentucky big men on this list — and quite fairly, as they’re all McDonald’s All-Americans with a lot of talent — but the 6-foot-11 freshman might be the most talented and productive of them all in 2014-15. Towns was a member of the Dominican Republic’s senior national team as a 16-year-old and has steadily improved his overall game ever since. During the Wildcats’ summer exhibition tour in the Bahamas, Towns, at times, looked like the team’s most talented overall player and he’s more offensively skilled than any other Kentucky center.
4. Georges Niang, Iowa State: Niang will be one of the most intriguing big men in the country this season thanks to his offseason weight loss and increased role. The 6-foot-8 junior averaged 16.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game last season, but when you consider he was often the Cyclones’ third offensive option, that’s impressive. Skilled enough to step out and hit the long ball, if Niang can improve his 32 percent three-point shooting, he could be virtually unstoppable on the offensive end thanks to his off-balance post looks and mid-range game.
5. Montrezl Harrell, Louisville: Harrell was one of the top big men in the country last season as the powerful 6-foot-8 junior averaged 14 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1 steal per game for one of the best teams in the country. The high-motor Harrell never seems to take a play off and he’s relentless on the glass and around the rim when hunting for dunks. If Montrezl can improve his mid-range jumper — which looked shaky in August at adidas Nations — he could take another step forward this season.
6. Perry Ellis, Kansas: The 6-foot-8 junior had a breakthrough sophomore season, as the Kansas native averaged 13.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game on 54 percent shooting. Skilled enough to hit jumpers, but tough enough to play on the interior, Ellis shot a respectable 76 percent from the free-throw line and even made 8 of 17 three-pointers last season to help keep the defense honest. Ellis also thrives on doing the little things like setting off-ball screens and sealing opposing defenses so his wings have a free lane to the hoop.
7. Cliff Alexander, Kansas: Alexander comes into his freshman season with a big reputation thanks to his bruising 6-foot-8 frame and a dunk-at-all-costs attitude. Seriously, this dude lives to dunk on people and we’ll probably see Big Cliff deliver some posters throughout the college basketball season. Besides his affinity for dunks, Alexander is a tremendous rebounder and is more skilled with the ball in his hands than people give him credit for. His jumper takes a little bit too long to get out of his hands right now, but it’s workable with the increased reps and practice time Alexander is sure to get in Lawrence.
8. Brandon Ashley, Arizona: After Ashley broke his foot in February of last season, Arizona went from a national championship contender to falling just short of the Final Four. The 6-foot-9 Ashley can do it all for the Wildcats as he averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 52 percent from the field, 75 percent from three-point range and 37 percent from the three-point line. With Ashley back in the lineup, Sean Miller’s offense can spread the floor or attack on the interior by using Ashley in whichever way creates a mismatch.
9. Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky: It’s really a shame that Cauley-Stein injured his ankle in the Sweet 16 win against Louisville, because it caused the 7-footer to miss the rest of the tournament. But if you’re looking for positives, that injury likely kept the 7-foot junior in school and he returns to Kentucky as one of the best defensive big men in the nation. Cauley-Stein averaged 6.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game as a sophomore and passed up a guaranteed first-round spot in the NBA Draft to return to Lexington.
10. Trey Lyles, Kentucky: The 6-foot-10 freshman was also a McDonald’s All-American and gives Kentucky a versatile and skilled offensive player. The Indianapolis native can face-up and make plays or score on the block using hooks or short jumpers. Lyles should also be able to rebound well for Kentucky and he’s not afraid to mix it up a bit down low.
THE NEXT TEN
11. Jordan Mickey, LSU: Overlooked by recruiting analysts, the 6-foot-8 Mickey put up great numbers during his freshman season, averaging 12.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game.
12. Jonathan Holmes, Texas: The 6-foot-8 senior increased his shooting percentages (50% FG, 74% FT, 33% 3PT) and his averages (12.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg) across the board in helping Texas get back to the NCAA Tournament last season.
13. Myles Turner, Texas: Another McDonald’s All-American, the 6-foot-11 freshman gives Rick Barnes another shot blocker on the interior, but Turner also has a smooth perimeter stroke.
14. Alan Williams, UC Santa Barbara: The pride of the Big West, the 6-foot-8 Williams averaged 21.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game during his junior season.
15. Bobby Portis, Arkansas: An impressive freshman season has NBA people talking highly of the 6-foot-11 sophomore. Portis put up 12.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1 steal per game last season.
16. Dakari Johnson, Kentucky: The 7-foot sophomore was the starting center on a team that played in the national championship game and is now considered the fourth best big man on the roster. Johnson did lose 20 pounds this offseason and additional mobility should make him that much better.
17. Josh Scott, Colorado: The 6-foot-10 junior has had two productive seasons for Colorado and averaged 14.1 points, 8.4 rebounds per game last season on 51 percent shooting and 81 percent free-throw shooting.
18. Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina: Incredibly productive in limited minutes as a freshman (7.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg in 16.3 mpg), expectations are high for the 6-foot-9 big man after his offseason weight loss. And keep an eye on Meeks this season as a skilled outlet passer for North Carolina’s transition breaks.
19. Shawn Long, Louisiana-Lafayette: The 6-foot-9 junior has averaged a double-double in each of his first two seasons and averaged 18.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game last season 52 percent field-goal shooting and 42 percent three-point shooting.
20. Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin: Much like Meeks, Hayes was very productive in limited minutes last season and should see his role increase this season in Madison. The 6-foot-7 sophomore averaged 7.7 points and 2.8 rebounds per game in 17.4 minutes a game last season.
ALSO CONSIDERED: A.J. Hammons (Purdue), Markus Kennedy (SMU), Justin Sears (Yale), JayVaughn Pinkston (Villanova), Jarell Martin (LSU), Kevon Looney (UCLA), Chris Walker (Florida), Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona)